Train the Trainer

Train the Trainer

It has been a while since I went to an external training course and was really looking forward to attending the “Train the trainer” training on 5th May 2016, organised by ACM Training  and facilitated by Sandy Keating. All of the participants appeared to like the location, ORT House, which is great for training or conference purposes.

I was hoping to learn more about training skills and how to best deliver a training session for my learners.

I found out there are six important considerations in delivering a training session:

  1. Planning
  2. Effective learning environment
  3. Key qualities of excellent trainers
  4. Training techniques
  5. Difficult learners
  6. Feedback

1. Planning

Planning for a training session is essential whether it is our own session, standing in for someone, a 1-to-1 or a group session. Planning is not only about preparing materials, slide presentations and equipment, but it should also include defining the aims (broad and unspecific) and the objectives (specific, observable and measurable) of the training. Furthermore, time management, choosing the right techniques and methods, making training relevant to learners, adding reference materials and identifying the right training aids are also part of planning. Training aids such as power point, flipcharts, worksheets, social media etc. can be helpful if they are used appropriately.

2. Effective learning environment

Learning environment is very important, there are two parts to consider when creating effective learning environments: physical and psychological. Physical includes location and accesibility, the room (temperature, size, lighting, layout, noise etc.) and the facilities including technical equipment. Psychological includes matters to enhance the psychological sides of the learners. For example: a friendly welcome, good ice breaking sessions, the presentation of prepared materials, classroom interaction, relevant contents, a clear plan and objectives for the day etc.

3. Key qualities of excellent trainers

There are four core qualities of a good trainer: knowedge, communication, interest and respect. However, excellent trainers will also have these characteristics:

  • To be able to manage the time throughout the session
  • To be able to ‘lead or follow’ according to the situation or demand
  • To know their limitations
  • To be able to make decisions strategically
  • To be aware of barriers to learning such as gender, age, language, cultural, physical, emotional
  • To have empathy for those who are affected
  • To be organised and realiable
  • To be assertive when dealing with difficult learners
  • To be confident and in control
  • To be able to provide examples in helping to make the concepts understandable
  • To remain flexible, this is to prepare for unexpected occurrences
  • To be able to set the learners’ expectations and hold them to those expectations
  • To be fair-minded
  • And last but not least to have a healthy sense of humour
  1. Training techniques

 There are a number of training techniques that can be used, from brainstorming, group discussions to role play etc.  A list of training techniques with their advantages and disadvantages is available from the library staff shared drive including different questioning skills .

  1. Difficult learners

Occasionally learners can be difficult to work with. They may fall asleep, talk disruptively with other learners, use mobile phones, demonstrate lack of social skills, set different targets or can be very distracting. Learners have preferences which affect the way in which they learn, therefore trainers should be able to respond to individual and different personalities and different learning styles of their learners. They should also be able to develop empathy and be assertive when dealing with disrupted learners. Trainers should always focus on the behaviours rather than the person. Further information on learning styles and personality styles are available from the library staff shared drive.


Understanding what learners think about the session is vital for improving future training. However, feedback can be pointless if there is no follow-up or if they are not implemented.

I have been delivering training sessions for a number of years and I have applied some of these skills in my sessions, but I have learned other new things that I can use for a better training delivery.

Train the Trainer Reading List is also available from the library staff shared drive.

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